PEOPLE keen to have their say over the protection and future development of an area of outstanding natural beauty in Somerset are being urged to put themselves forward.

The Mendip Hills AONB Partnership is looking to appoint a new chairperson, vice-chair and three representatives of parish councils in North Somerset, Bath & North East Somerset and Somerset.

The Partnership brings together organisations and interests and provides a strategic and co-ordinated lead to the protection and enhancement of the nationally designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

These appointments come at a crucial time with climate change and extinction emergencies being declared, changes to farm payment systems and the outcomes of the government’s recent ‘Glover Review’, that could see significant changes to the Partnership and its role.

A spokesperson said: "This is a great opportunity for someone to help shape the area they love.

"If you have the energy and enthusiasm to protect this much loved area please get in touch to find out more.

"Either the chair or vice-chair role may be filled by a non-elected, independent individual who is not currently on the Partnership.

"The other role must be filled by a councillor from one of the funding bodies."

Jim Hardcastle, manager of the Mendip Hills AONB, said: "We know people are rightly concerned about the future of the countryside they love and want to help shape the future, this is an amazing opportunity.

"It’s a voluntary two year role that places you at the heart of environmental decision making for the Mendip Hills.

"The Partnership is made up of the organisations that manage the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, like the local authorities, the Wildlife Trusts, Natural England etc.

"We’re looking for people with the right skills and experience backed up by a love for this nationally protected area."

People can download the requirements and application documents from

The form needs to be submitted by February 19 with the elections at the AONB Partnership meeting on March 19.

For further details on the roles, contact Jim Hardcastle on 01761 462338 or email